By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Saturday, 21 May 2016
Judge Ted Poe emphasizes that, “As it stands now the Iraqi government is only allowing the residents to take the cloths that they are wearing on their back, they can’t even take their laptop computers. This is their property. It does not belong to Iraq. and the folks that leave camp Liberty and go other places should be allowed to take their personal property to whatever country that they go to. This is only right and justice demands this”
Judge Ted Poe:
I thank the chairman and I would like to a matter that we have discussed a lot since 2009 and that is the folks, the good folks, in first Camp Ashraf and then Camp Liberty. While they have been at these camps, bad things have happened to them. The more we meet, every time we meet it seems that there have been more assaults, more murders, more rocket attacks, against these folks who lived in these two areas.
Many of them are here today, their families are in Camp Liberty, some of their families have been killed since 2009 and I admire their perseverance. But there are about 2,000 members of the Iranian opposition movement, MEK, once again they are unarmed and they live in Camp Liberty, Iraq. They live there because they have been forced out of Iran, a country that tolerates no political opposition. And if they were to be returned to Iran, they would be killed.
The mullahs in Iran fear and hate the MEK. The MEK basically just wants freedom in Iran, free elections. But it turns out that the long arms of the mullahs in Tehran reached out to Iraq where these folks have been for a long time. Last October the residents came under intense rocket attacks in Iraq. 24 people were killed, dozens of others were injured and the IRGC claimed the assault and warned that more would follow. These kinds of attacks have been 7, if I can remember correctly, on the people and the MEK that live in Iraq have claimed the lives of 140 people. Not one person has been held accountable for these murders. Not one person has been arrested or gone to jail for these murders that occurred in these camps. 1300 others have been injured and 7 have been kidnapped. The residents live in constant fear of another attack, their only crime is opposing the tyrants in Iran. HRes650 condemns these attacks. I want to thank the ranking member for his amendment that makes this resolution even better, but the resolution condemns the attacks and urges the Iraqi government to bring those responsible to justice.
Those in the Iraqi government who claim links to the IRGC should not be put in charge of the camp. Several years ago, chairman Rohrabacher and myself went to Iraq and we wanted to see Camp Ashraf and the government of Iraq was so irate that we wanted to visit what was happening in the camp before they were moved to Liberty that Chairman Rohrabacher and myself were told to leave Iraq. We were evicted, kicked out of the country. That’s how much support the Iraqi government gives to the mullahs in Iran about the camps. Of course we didn’t leave, we stayed anyway and did what we wanted to do. But it shows you the government of Iraq’s position on that because we nearly just wanted to see for ourselves the living conditions of these, I think, very patriotic people.
So Iraq is not a safe place for the residents. They should be resettled to a third country. As Iran’s influence continues to grow in the region we must show our strong support for these dissidents. They want freedom for their fellow countrymen, but for the last 30 years that pursuit has caused them and they’ve to flee the country they love and loose many of their family members. We should do all we can to urge their protection. It’s important that the government of Iraq to allow the residents to sell the property at Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf. It is their property, it does not belong to the government of Iraq.
Once again I want to thank Ranking Member Engel for his amendment that makes this clear. As it stands now the Iraqi government is only allowing the residents to take the cloths that they are wearing on their back, they can’t even take their laptop computers. This is their property. It does not belong to Iraq. and the folks that leave camp Liberty and go other places should be allowed to take their personal property to whatever country that they go to. This is only right and justice demands this.
So I thank the chairman, the ranking member for their support of this legislation, this resolution and I hope that we don’t have to meet again when there are more casualties in Liberty because we have not helped get these good folks resettled to another country. I yield back.
Chairman Royce: Thanks for your eloquence on this issue, Mr. Poe. But also thank you for introducing it.